Meredith Bell Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Meredith Bell
Meredith Bell is my guest today on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
She is a lady who has been a entrepreneur since 1982, and is an expert in helping companies develop the people side of their business.
She is co-founder and President of Performance Support Systems, a global software company based in Virginia, where their products are used by leadership coaches and consultants as well as internal learning and development professionals to help managers become more effective leaders.
There is one truth in my mind, that someone who develops all the leadership skills whilst climbing up the ladder quite often finds those skills very difficult to maintain.
Is it the isolation that causes the issues, or perhaps the climb that wears them out?
Well whatever it is our guest will have the answer I’m sure.
How The Dots Joined Up For Meredith
She and her business partners have worked together for 25 years, and many of their clients and re-sellers have done business with them for 20 years.
She understands what’s required to build the loyalty and commitment that lead to repeat business and referrals.
She takes pride in getting feedback like this, which is from a reseller who’s worked with her company since 1994: “Performance Support Systems is the epitome of the client-centered, high-integrity, high-support company with world class products. You could look for a lifetime and not find its equal.”
So strong relationship building, high level customer service and a commitment to build the people and not just the business is the ideal way to operate…..or is it?
Does she look back at her career and think “Wow, home run every single time”?
Or, instead has it been a gradual climb, or struggles, mistakes, huge failures and everything else that entrepreneurs have to overcome?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Meredith Bell.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Meredith Bell such as:
Why she remembers being a serious child and how she taken steps to bring a lightness into her life and work that wasn’t always there.
Why we have to be aware of the ego in our business that can often take of us from the track that is right for us.
Why Meredith loves passionately talking with clients, as much to find out about their own business as her own. Value always comes first however.
Why a binge watch on Netflix is something that could be a good thing for so many members of the entrepreneur club, if we only allow ourselves the chance.
How To Connect With Meredith Bell
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Full Transcription Of Meredith Bell Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:24]
Yes, hello everybody. Hello there Episode 701 of Join Up Dots. Can you imagine it? Can you imagine it recording over so well about 800 hours of stuff and I was still having a little jig allit We’re excited jig before we actually started talking about it. And I suppose that sort of says a lot about like, really, if you can find the thing that makes you want to still jig after you’ve done it for 100 times. That’s probably a thing. And I think today’s guest is one of those ladies who who probably does have a little jig before she goes out to work in the morning because she’s been an entrepreneur since 1982. And she’s an expert in helping companies Develop the people side of their business. And when you speak to her, you just know that she loves people. She’s a co founder and president of performance support systems, a global software company based in Virginia, where their products are used by leadership coaches and consultants, as well as internal learning and development professionals to help managers become more effective leaders. Now, there’s one truth in my mind that someone who develops all the leadership skills whilst climbing up the ladder quite often kind of loses those skills and find some very difficult to maintain now, is it the isolation that causes the issues or perhaps the climb that wears them out? Well, whatever it is, our guest will have the answer. I’m sure. She and her business partners have worked together for 25 years and many of their clients and resellers have done business with them for 20 years plus, and she understands what’s required to build the loyalty and commitment that leads to repeat business and referrals. She takes pride in getting feedback like this, which is from a reseller who worked with a company since 1994. long words here, but we’re Go for it. Performance support systems is the epitome of their client centred high end Equity high support company with world class products, you could look for a lifetime and not find it equal. Wow. So strong relationship building high level customer service and a commitment to build the people and not just a business is the ideal way to operate. Or is it that she looked back at a career and think, Wow, homerun every single time, or instead has it been a gradual climb up struggles, mistakes, huge failures, and everything else that entrepreneurs have to overcome? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Meredith bell. Good morning, Meredith. How are you?
Meredith Bell [2:35]
Oh, David, I am great. I’m very excited to be with you today.
David Ralph [2:39]
We were having a little flirt beforehand. Well, we Meredith you you got up early and you decided that you were going to flirt with a UK podcaster. Was that on your bucket list? Have you written a life list and that was one of the things you can now take off.
Meredith Bell [2:53]
You know, actually, it’s only one of the countries I’d like to do that with
David Ralph [2:59]
you across the world, this is a new business plan you’ve created in America.
Meredith Bell [3:05]
Well, flirting is probably going a little bit too strong because I do have a wonderful relationship of 35 years with my husband. But I love getting to know other people and I just absolutely love your energy and what you’re doing in the world.
David Ralph [3:21]
I was going to talk about flirting, but now I’ve talked about it, I’m gonna I’m gonna bring it up isn’t flirting, as long as it’s kind of a professional respect, a great way to bridging the gaps. You know, I’ve always been a big flirt. I’ve never taken it any further. I’ve been married to my wife for 25 years now. wouldn’t take it any further. But I like a bit of flow. I thought it’s a good way of breaking the ice and building very strong relationships.
Meredith Bell [3:46]
I think that, you know, sort of depends on how you define it but to me having fun with another person. See you laugh together and you know, just enjoy getting to know each other. I think that that’s really a key not being too serious. Because that’s something I’ve had to work on. All my life is not being too serious and having fun. And so if I can remember that, I guess you could classify that somewhat is flirting. But it’s just, you know, forming a connection with another person that’s sincere and genuine. I think that’s really the key for me.
David Ralph [4:24]
So I said, well, US serious little so was it as a girl, five year old six year old Meredith, where you all all three rounds and homework?
Meredith Bell [4:33]
Well, I don’t know that I found a lot. But I was very serious. I think I absorbed that, you know, from my parents, that idea that you are responsible for doing good work, that sense of, you know, excellence and a work ethic. And so I am sure I know I played as a kid too. But I think there’s just been this serious side of me that I’ve had to become more of Aware of so that I smile more. And you know, that’s an interesting thing about frowning. I don’t know if it’s so much frown is just deep in thought and, you know, just not taking a frivolous approach I think, to whatever it is I’ve taken on.
David Ralph [5:21]
This is a lot of ladies in America Meredith that can’t frown. They can’t they can’t move their faces or talk me so so if you can, you’re doing well.
Meredith Bell [5:32]
Well, that’s right. I’ve decided I’m never having plastic surgery. I like having my natural wrinkles and creases and whatever else may come it’s just a part of who I am
David Ralph [5:46]
good on you. I’ve been through some places in America and it’s not so prevalent in in United Kingdom I suppose. It’s gonna start going away. But over women look like they’re in a wind tunnel. They’re their faces are so pulled back. You know, they can’t smile. Come by can’t even dribble out as Kona mouth. It’s not a good look, is it?
Meredith Bell [6:05]
No, it isn’t. It doesn’t look natural. So let’s
David Ralph [6:09]
talk about yourself and your business because you are a people person. And I find more often than not the entrepreneurs that really love the business side. Don’t forget that it’s about people. I find that seems to be a key thing. And the ones that I’ve spoken to that seem to be all about the money, they don’t seem to have that same kind of longevity is very much quick spurts, make their money and then look for something else to go for it. You’ve been doing it since 1982. What is it about the entrepreneurial life that keeps on bringing you back to everyday?
Meredith Bell [6:44]
You know, I have to say I love it. Even though when you were talking earlier, I’m definitely on the side of having made lots of mistakes and scraped my knees and all kinds of things. But what I love about it is is it’s up to me. I’m the one sponsible for the results that I get, in my earlier years, I my first career was teaching fourth grade. And I found that that routine was kind of boring. And so I decided to get my masters and work in the administration level. And then what I found was that it was so political and bureaucratic, I didn’t have the patience for what was required, you know, to play games. It just was antithetical to who I am and so I jumped out in 1982 from a job that you know, many people within the educational setting thought hey, that’s that’s a nice, you know, secure place to be prestigious enough. But I, I just needed to be my own boss, I think and be out on my own, no matter what the risk, I think That was really the key, the the unknown looked better than the known at that point, no matter how risky it might seem. And so that’s one of the things I love about being an entrepreneur is I get to choose every day, what direction I’m going to go today to try to build our business. And I do have my two business partners, we work in a very collaborative way. But they’re also very supportive of me. So I don’t have to ask their permission to do something, I check in with them and I run ideas by them. But my role is sales and marketing and they really give me free rein and I just love that because I’m in I’m by nature, a very responsible person. So I don’t, you know, waste time I work on, you know, trying to be focused in an experiment. I love experimenting to trying different things to see what works and what doesn’t learn from it. And so I don’t have restrictions on me by, you know, a larger type of organisation and structure. And I love that freedom. So
David Ralph [9:10]
your business partners, if I sort of phoned you up and you went, ah, I’m just gonna sit and watch a box set on Netflix for two days. And you know, I’m just gonna draw the curtains and not do anything, would they go, Oh, hang on Meredith’s having a moment here? Or would I just go? Yeah, fair enough and let you do it.
Meredith Bell [9:27]
Oh, they would let me do it because they know what a strong work ethic I have. And if I said, I need a couple days to do this, they, they would figure I’m able to, you know, monitor what I need in terms of a mental or physical break from things. So, you know, that’s one of the cool things, David that I love the most about working with them after all these years. We have a very strong trust, respect and love for each other. And so it’s like in a good way. marriage relationship. If your partner says, I need this, then you honour that and you give them the space to do what they feel like they need to do.
David Ralph [10:09]
Yeah, but people don’t do that internally, you know, your your supporters, your business partners, they might be going Meredith’s looking a bit rough at the moment. I think she’s overdoing it. But inside Meredith doesn’t want to look like she’s got any faults and she wants to just keep on pushing through. And I’m sort of saying this because I can put my hand up and say I’ve been through this myself. Were looking back at certain situations in my life, I should have gone Look guys, I need two weeks off, just leave me alone, you know, but you don’t you don’t want to look weak. So how do you sort of actually monitor but that low energy in your life because it’s always saying it but you don’t want to let people down Do you?
Meredith Bell [10:46]
Well, I you know, that’s true. I’m I probably am worse about letting myself down. And what I value about them is and and the relationship we have with each other is we Listen to each other’s tone of voice. As we’re talking to each other because we talk to each other all the time, we’re not in the same office, we work remotely in different locations. But we are good at holding up the truth to each other. So even if I don’t recognise, hey, I need a break. One of my partners might say, you know, you sound a little tired, you sound a little down, do you need to take an extra day off, you need a three day weekend. So we really support each other in that give each other permission to just be real. And I think that goes back to a willingness to be vulnerable. I don’t have that. I think with them, I just feel so safe to be who I am. And that’s one reason I love working with them, is we have just, we know we’re not going to be judged or criticised. It’s a safe place to be. It’s embracing of who we are and appreciating of who I am. And they know that I’m a very driven person and so I am going to push myself sometimes too hard. And so they will say, you know, it’s time to take some time off. So it’s more than pointing it out to me when I need it than me recognising it first.
David Ralph [12:24]
I want to see a photo of the three of you or the four of you whatever snuggled on a sofa under a doobie with a big bowl of Doritos. Just watching Netflix for two days. That’s that’s what I want Meredith and I hope you don’t don’t let me down.
Meredith Bell [12:39]
You know, I wish I had one like that. I’ve got a picture of us together but not doing that particular activity.
David Ralph [12:46]
Maybe in the future. So your your business, how did it come about? Because I was on your website looking up and down and what I liked about it, it’s very much about strong performance, but you are aware enough that there are strong performers And sees four different roles as strong performances for different individuals. So there was a whole platform of different sort of variations of a similar theme. What was the first one? Where did it all start? right in the beginning.
Meredith Bell [13:13]
It started with actually doing training and consulting for client organisations. When I started my business after leaving education, I got to thinking you know, I, I’ve always loved being a teacher, and coaching people. And I did that with teachers in my latest job there. So I decided I had something to offer to companies in helping people communicate better with each other and get along because so many issues come up, not around the technical side of the business, but around the people side. So that’s what I focused on doing. So I got into things like leadership development, what does it take to be a good manager and bring out the best and other people and Working with individuals on teams to play nice together. And then I met Danny, one of my business partners, he was doing a similar thing on his own. And we found that we had, you know, in similar interests, compatibility values. So we merged our two companies together. And for a number of years, we did that time kind of training and coaching. But then we decided we really wanted to have a greater impact. And so we decided to transition into being a software company where we were no longer the ones going out and delivering services. We were creating products to help with assessing where people are, how they could improve, and then giving them tools to actually make those improvements on the job and
David Ralph [14:51]
meditate Well, when I want sort of year did you do the software but
Meredith Bell [14:54]
the software was in 94 that we introduced our first
David Ralph [14:58]
Meredith Bell [15:00]
floppy diskettes was the first version Yeah, tells you how far back we go.
David Ralph [15:06]
So, so that was about, you know, now it’s pretty commonplace to sort of think of that way of doing it online. But in those days, I can’t think of many people that were doing it. Did you see other people and think that’s a good idea? Or was it just something that you thought was right to do?
Meredith Bell [15:21]
Well, you know, it was really born out of a sense of frustration, because the first tool that we created was one that we needed ourselves as consultants, but didn’t exist, it was called 360 degree feedback. And it was it existed back then. But the companies that had products were, you know, rigid items. It was a way of, of doing a survey about an individual rather than the company. So it was for getting feedback for a manager on how the direct reports his peers or her peers and boss saw them. So it was not just getting the annual review from, you know, the one person who managed you, but instead getting input from people around you. And the the frustration was with the kinds of surveys that existed back then, and what we wanted to have instead, so we just set out to solve a problem for ourselves that as we were doing it, we thought, you know, this is something we really want to make available, because it doesn’t exist. So we we really, when I think back on it, we were pretty audacious, you know, we we didn’t know what we didn’t know. That’s the best
David Ralph [16:37]
place to play, isn’t it? If you don’t know what you don’t know, they need you can’t go wrong. Really. Can you in a funny way?
Meredith Bell [16:43]
Well, that’s right. And and we just thought, you know, we’re going to go up against these other folks, because what we have to offer is different and we we just had a belief back then, that other people probably had the same frustration as We did. And in fact, that’s what we discovered. But what we needed to allow for was time to educate people. And I think anytime you’re introducing a new product or new service, you have to factor in, that there’s an educational component to it, if it’s different from if it’s disruptive, from what already exists, because people are familiar with that. And they’re, as you know, I’m sure you know, most folks are kind of reluctant to change from what they what they know. So it anytime what we learned is anytime you’re introducing something new, you have to really seek out the people that are open to new and different and better ways of doing things. So you get your early adopters who then get on your bandwagon and start helping to promote you. Oh, seek me out. seek me out. Meredith.
David Ralph [17:57]
I love a good change. I do. Even if A change isn’t really required. I just like to sort of feel like things are moving on. Don’t Don’t go towards me wife, my wife hates change. You can you can barely get out of the same pyjamas that she’s been wearing for the last four years. That’s how much she doesn’t like change, you know, but I think it’s true. And what you did very well in that was that you, you had an annoyance in your own life, and you sought that out as a solution to yourself. And that is how so many businesses can be built quite readily when someone who’s listening to this podcast, and now at their job, and I think is just a stupid way of doing it. More often than not, there’s other people with that same thought, but you just need one person to sort of bring it to the fore. That’s the majority of businesses near you solve a solution.
Meredith Bell [18:44]
Exactly. And then our more recent product, the strong performance that you mentioned, that also came out of a frustration but a different kind. And in that case, it was we were tired of seeing all of these companies needs that spend, I mean, collectively billions of dollars every year on training people, but it doesn’t translate into improve performance back on the job. And we knew why. And the key reasons are there. indeni is the one who just had studied this for decades, what happened? What has to happen in your brain to learn a new skill or master a new habit? And it’s the repetition and practice because there’s physical connections that have to get wired up in your brain in order for a new habit to replace an old one. Yeah. And so we decided that we wanted to create an online system that would provide that kind of practice reinforcement and coaching to allow that to happen so that we would see people better able to create these habits that they wanted, but and the follow up after training, that just wasn’t happening.
David Ralph [20:03]
The reason I chuckled was I was a trainer for maybe 20 years. And I can count on one finger, the amount of training that I did that probably had any relevance to anything. It was just like a tick box culture, people would come into the room, I do my very best. And I go, Oh, that was great training really good. And you’d go out and you say, right, how you can solve, implement that I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. And then you’d come back three weeks later than any of it. And you know, that is a huge problem, isn’t it, which is why the online training is so powerful now because you can sort of get systems in place that makes you do it on a daily basis, that sort of actually embedded into your way of life, but a lot of training, you know, I have very good money for many, many years, but I think I could have just did in a room empty room and this spoke to myself really
Meredith Bell [20:52]
well that’s the thing when you enjoy you know, delivering good, valuable content. You You probably could although I doubt you’d have been happy for very long because you wanted people in the room that you could have an impact on.
David Ralph [21:07]
Now, there was a lot of our honourable people in my rooms. Did you have those ones where you think to yourself, you’re not listening, you don’t even want to be very nice or sloping and they plunk themselves down with our arms folded and it’s just like, you’ve taken them away from their work. They’ve got two days of work to do now, because I’ve got to catch up when I get out of the room if you had those.
Meredith Bell [21:29]
Of course in it. Yes, anyone that’s that’s been involved in conducting training in the corporate world where people are sent to training, you’ve had to deal with that. And of course, I love it when people raise their hand and say Pick me Pick me because they’re the ones that are going to be most excited about, you know, using the ideas that are shared. But you know, it’s really true not just in a classroom setting, but in general There are, you know, only a certain percentage of people that really are eager to learn and grow. They, other people may not part of it may be just raising their awareness level. But some folks just it goes back to the whole thing of change and not wanting to get out of their comfort zone. Because a lot of times it’s fear. A lot of times it’s just closing their mind, you know, I’m doing something, and it may or may not be working for them. But the concerns about making a shift are greater than where they are right now.
David Ralph [22:40]
Let’s play some words. Now. Then we’re going to delve back into that fact because I think that is key to the whole episode is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [22:46]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and are family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [23:12]
Now, his core message was that his dad didn’t want to change because he had excuses built up around him. But Jim wants to change he doesn’t, unless you change, nothing ever will get better with it. And more often than not, it will get worse.
Meredith Bell [23:29]
That’s correct. It is actually correct. Because the world around us is constantly changing. So if we’re not willing to adapt, we’re going to be stuck and we can be left behind. Because there’s no guarantees, you know, life just happens and different events occur. And we have to learn to recognise, you know, I think part of the resistance is we let our egos get in the way and we start Thing saying things like, well, this shouldn’t be happening. So we deny it. And instead if we can learn to just embrace the reality that’s coming at us, and think about how can I use this in a way that will help me move forward? I think that’s really it’s a shift in how we think about things.
David Ralph [24:22]
It’s like blockbusters remember blockbusters video, I was watching nights last night. I was saying to my wife, yeah, and this is gonna alienate me to anybody under the age of 30, probably. But when I was a kid, you used to want to have a video you used to have to go and you go, I watch a video this afternoon. And you’d have to ride around to the video shop and spend hours picking up the boxes looking at them and deciding what you want. And then once you’d watched it, you had to rewind it, and then take it back to the show. It was an effort, it was an effort. And when you look at where we are now and the technology that was around which Netflix are using, you kind of wonder why blockbusters didn’t change and Was it ego as you say, was it an unwillingness to change? Did they think they’d already cornered the market? because change is the only thing that keeps keeps us vibrant, isn’t it you you’ve got to change. Otherwise, you end up like the dinosaurs, you end up like blockbusters.
Meredith Bell [25:14]
That’s so true. I think part of it is a willingness to look around you and see what’s going on. If you put on blinders and you’re just focused narrowly on what you’re seeing in your own experience in your own world. You really, you know, miss out on, on what’s happening. And so you don’t anticipate changes that are coming and how you might need to adapt in order to either as a company survive or thrive. Going forward. I just think it’s so critical to be open to input that might contradict you know, your current position, but again, not feeling threatened by it, but you know, Welcoming it with open arms because it’s going to help you make better decisions going forward.
David Ralph [26:05]
Now, you must have been in positions because you’ve been, you know, doing this since 1982. But where you have been blinkered, and you’ve been so focused on what you’re doing that you haven’t looked around at the Netflix coming behind you, or whatever it is, have you had any moments when you’ve had to start sort of Oh, picking up the pace, putting your skirt up and having a little ramp?
Meredith Bell [26:28]
Yes, that’s the nature of the business. I think it’s pretty hard to always be, you know, the cutting edge, we were the cutting edge in 1994, with that product that we brought out, and then, you know, different things started happening in terms of strictly online products and different features that other competitors had that didn’t and so we were constantly having to look at, you know, what is it about us that We can improve, and what is it about us and our products we want to keep as is because those are a core element that define us. And I think that’s another piece that’s really important. You know, as we go forward, whether it’s someone that has a service business, our you know, is working inside of a company, but to recognise and, and honour those things that set us apart. So we stay authentic, we stay real about those pieces, and we’re not trying to be a copycat of someone else, because that’s when we can lose our competitive advantage. When we think about what is it. For instance, one of our strengths is the way we provide service to people. We want them to have a great experience with us. We don’t want satisfied customers. We want people that look forward to calling us you know what, whether they need tech support or they need additional information. We will them to be glad they talked to us when the hang up. And so that that leads to making certain kinds of decisions about how our company will operate, and what we’re going to be doing and how we service people. So that makes sense.
David Ralph [28:18]
It makes total sense. It does make total sense. So the interesting thing that’s coming out of this and it sort of takes me back to the introduction in the introduction, I was talking about the leadership skills, but quite often, a great leader will somehow become a blunt leader further down the line, where they just I don’t know they find themselves in isolation, or it’s just too much effort. But you’re constantly reinventing yourself all the time, or at least trying to sharpen up your edges. Does that make your business out or to fight off competitors or does it not really matter anymore? is there so much abundance of as long as you’re providing a product, you will get customers
Meredith Bell [28:59]
you know, I have to say, I have an abundance mentality. I don’t really worry about our competition. And I mean, everyone has competition and you part of how I, you know, stay motivated and get up every day is recognise that there are lots of people out there that have never heard of us yet. Yeah, aren’t aware of what we do. And so my goal is to reach out to people and meet them. And I think it’s important to share something that is a guiding core value for me. And that is, and it’s why I enjoy marketing and sales. Because my approach to it is, I’m here to form a relationship and to be of service and, and to see how I can provide value to the people I interact with. So when I am, you know, on a phone call with someone, it’s not waiting for An opportunity to start talking about our product. It’s asking questions to learn more about what’s going on in their world, and what they’re experiencing. And it may have nothing to do with our product, I may be able to, you know, help them in something they’re trying to do, let’s say using LinkedIn, because I’ve been studying how to use LinkedIn for a couple years. So I know a few things about that. So if I can help someone else be more effective in using that, then I’m happy to do so. And so they sent that, David, they sense that I am not trying to put pressure on them. And so we have this wonderful conversation that leaves them hopefully feeling somewhat enriched because of ideas I’ve shared or questions I’ve asked them and that leads to a good relationship that down the road may lead to them doing business with us or introducing me to someone that they feel needs our product. So that whole approach has been fabulous for me because it’s so aligned with who I am and like how I like to show up in the world. And so throwing away some of these, you know, sales scripts and other approaches to making sales, to be able to form relationships that are congruent with how I like to interact with people has just been wonderful, and it’s why stay excited and motivated. And, and getting back to your question. It’s why I’m not concerned about so much what our competitor is doing, because I really do see there’s a place for all of us in the world. I agree
David Ralph [31:48]
with you. I agree with you. I tell you what, Meredith, do you notice only one podcast in the world and that’s my one. There’s not one other now Okay, if I go into iTunes, and I look around, there’s about 20 million other things, but I’m not bothered Anyone and I’ve had some people say to me, I’ve got a training platform, which I teach people how to not just podcast but market a podcast and do sort of more of a business around. And a couple of people have said to me, ah, yeah, well, we’re doing our own thing. And I said, Well, do you want to share ideas? You know, because I’ve got some good ideas, and you might have good ideas. No, no, it’s all I would keep it as ourselves. And I think it’s just, you know, I just think it’s abundance. I think there’s 7.8 billion people out there, you need about 200 each year, send them 500 quid a staff you making six figures. Brilliant, and I don’t see that there’s any issue with helping other people and and sharing information and stuff, but people do don’t know. It’s like their secret squirrel when they get a little nuts and they pull them tight to them and they dig little holes all over the place. Just let us see your nuts. That’s what we want. Meredith, let us see the nuts.
Meredith Bell [32:54]
Well, you know, it’s so interesting that you’re you’re saying that David because on LinkedIn, When I connect with someone that initially looks like they could be a competitor to us, I don’t let that bother me. And in fact, when I, you know, send a message out to them, I’ll say, you know, it looks like, you know, we offer some of the similar kinds of things, but I would still love to have a conversation with you, because there may be opportunities where I could introduce someone to you or our products, not a good fit, and vice versa. Because it’s true, everybody that offers something, whether it’s podcasts or, you know, products or services, there are differences among them. And I think the more we, if you think of it as as you know, clenched fist The more we open our hands and say, you know, Bring it on, you know, let’s share the wealth. It makes a huge difference in the kinds of people that we attract in our lives versus, you know, crunching ourselves. is tighter and shutting ourselves in and closing our bodies and saying, No, I’m fine, thank you. I don’t want to share ideas because you might steal mine. I just, I think there’s a whole different way in how we feel about ourselves and the world. When we have that abundance versus scarcity mindset.
David Ralph [34:22]
I’d say the ones that don’t like on LinkedIn, I get a few of these where somebody comes along and says, Ah, David, thank you for connecting with me. And I connect with anyone anyone sends something through to me, I’ll accept them. And they come through later. And they say, what I would like to do is have a call with you so that I can improve the way that you’re operating your business, and I think you don’t know how I’m operating my business, and maybe you can improve it or maybe you can’t, but I don’t know. It seems a bit icky but why they come through and do that motive.
Meredith Bell [34:49]
I totally agree with you. I think and it goes back to do you want to be of service and value to people and if so, then you don’t make a summary. That what you have is automatically something they need. And that’s what you’re talking about somebody that says, Oh, I can do this for you when they don’t have a clue about you at this point. And I believe in being honest with people, I had a fellow that wrote to me, you know, in a used all caps for things and I just said, I wrote him back and I said, You know, I have to say, what you have written to me came across very spammy. And before I would want to, you know, have a conversation with you, I would want you to put in writing how you feel, you know, a relationship with me would would really be of benefit to both of us. Trying to be polite, but at but not blowing off because who knows, there could be an opportunity there. I tend to err on the side of being open but once Oh, you
David Ralph [35:55]
know, don’t you you know, you could have blown him off you. You knew wasn’t gonna go anywhere. Surely the way somebody does it right at the very beginning. It’s the you know, it’s professionalism, isn’t it? You’re not going to take that forward?
Meredith Bell [36:09]
Well, in this case, I didn’t because of the next thing that he did. It’s a destroyed trust that could have possibly been built. So that was it.
David Ralph [36:19]
And what did he do? What did he do? Did he send naked photos of himself or something?
Meredith Bell [36:24]
No, to me, it was worse, he approached somebody else, and represented himself to have a, you know, business relationship with me that didn’t exist. So if you lie, or misrepresent something, you’re done with me. That just is not gonna fly.
David Ralph [36:43]
Oh, you sound like the Godfather, then. You could imagine you sitting in a big chair stroking your cat and, oh, that was frightening, so frightening. So well, what we’re going to do, we’re going to play some talk now that wasn’t frightening and was hugely motivational, and we’re going to hear it again. Steve Jobs,
Steve Jobs [36:59]
of course. It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [37:34]
So when you listen to those words, and of course we play them on most of the shows that I record. Do they sort of hit home? Do you reflect on your own life when you’re listening to them?
Meredith Bell [37:45]
Definitely. Because, you know, going back to when I left education to start my own business, David, I didn’t have a single course on business. I had no idea what I was doing and there was no internet back then. 82 there were barely PCs. And so I just had to, you know, study, learn, but I trusted that I would discover as I went, what I needed to do. And it was the same way when, you know, I, I met and started working with one of my business partners. And when then we brought on the third person, I just had this sense that this is all going to move us forward, and I will still be able to do the kinds of things I want to do, because the driving force for me has always been make a difference, make a difference in the lives of other people. And then when we, you know, started a software company again, we’d never done that. And so it was trusting our ability to figure things out and have the confidence to move forward. And I think those are the common themes for me in each These major choices that I’ve made, you know, in my life and combining that with some of my natural strengths for teaching and coaching, that I’ve been able to apply in these different situations that I have found myself in through my own choice. I think that that’s been just a key for me in in making progress. I don’t have to know In other words, how these are all going to come together. I love what Steve Jobs said. But the other thing is looking back and seeing where some of these dots have been, and now piecing them together. For example, another thread along the way has been my depth of caring about people and you know, genuinely being concerned about them having a better life for themselves, whatever that looks like. And so it through assessments that I’ve taken, I came to realise that one of my core strengths was love. And I had not thought about that on a conscious level with some of these other things that have happened in my life. But again, connecting those dots in the past and seeing how that desire to to be of service to help people and genuinely care about them, has served me well. And now what I’m doing going forward is with that awareness is thinking about with each conversation I have, how can I do that even more powerfully? So that the, the impact I have not from an ego perspective of how can I be so great it but it’s more humbling, really, how can I focus on serving this person in such a deep way that that it has a profound impact on how they go into their own future from here on out, so that the whole connecting dots thing for me is very significant.
David Ralph [41:09]
It’s interesting, you speak about the individual and you know, making a personal difference. At the same time as America is going to huge proof, huge changes where that seems to be certainly from my point of view, and I might be totally wrong, that might be, you know, as far away from where it’s ever been as possible to be at the moment with the way that things are being run. Do you see that happening? Do you see the actual individual is becoming smaller and smaller and smaller against the industry?
Meredith Bell [41:41]
Well, I, you know, this is such an interesting time in our country right now. And I do see there’s a lot of anxiety around so many different things these days, and I I felt that way myself at times. After our election in 2016, and what I came to realise was, you know, I have no intention of ever running for politics. So therefore, I’m not going to be having a stage upon which I might be able to influence, you know, policy and legislation. But what I can do is on an individual basis with each person that I come in contact with, do my best to make their particular world a little bit better. That’s all I can really hope to do with the choices I’ve made about not going into public service, you know, in that way, so I think that, you know, to answer your question, if each of us can look at what can I do to make my world a little bit better and the people whose lives I, you know, come into contact with, I think that’s where we can have a great grassroots positive impact on what’s happening.
David Ralph [43:04]
I agree with that. And it’s a kind of metaphor of Join Up Dots. But every it’s like a picture, a picture, you’re looking at a lovely picture. But as you get closer and closer and closer and closer, it’s just a series of tiny little dots. And I see that with us, your dot, I’m adult, every single person’s adult, and if we just, you know, help each other, then what a powerful way it’s going to be and you get further and further away. You couldn’t find the power if we all acted on helping the next dot along, could you?
Meredith Bell [43:33]
I love that. I think that that’s a really excellent way of talking about this. I should go into politics. Should I married? If
David Ralph [43:42]
I go? I’ll tell you what, I’ll be the world’s worst I I struggle with quality control of what I talk about. Even if my brain is saying Don’t say that. David, don’t say that. More often than not it pops out. So I’d be the world’s worst. Hey, there’s some bad ones out there at the moment. Anyway, do you think Meredith being No this, Meredith.
Meredith Bell [44:02]
Oh, my, you know, David, I think that you have, I think you’re making a better impact with your podcast than trying to get it you would be frustrated. And I don’t think you would thrive in that environment.
David Ralph [44:18]
I would just run around having fun and abusing my power. That’s what I would do. Meredith, I would abuse my power in every single way possible. Well, this is the end of the show. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Meredith, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mind.
Unknown Speaker [44:52]
With the best
Meredith Bell [45:08]
This is a message to my 21 year old self graduating from college. There are a few things I want you to know as you go out into the big world of life and work. The first thing is, I want you to commit to playing big. You know, a lot of people are satisfied with doing the minimum. Don’t be like that you have a responsibility to use all of your talents and abilities for maximum impact in the world. Don’t let the fear of criticism or disapproval hold you back from taking risks, and pursuing new opportunities that present themselves to you. And I want you to focus on serving and love Loving other people, not focusing on what they can do for you. Because when you do this, you’ll stand out and you’ll experience greater satisfaction than you ever imagined was possible. And as part of that, I want you to practice kindness every day. Because everyone has challenges and you might be the only person who brings a positive spark to their life on that particular day. And you know what you need to remember to be kind to yourself to don’t allow that inner critic to take over when you fall short of the expectations that you have for yourself. Instead, I want you to think of everything you do, like a scientist would. When approaching an experiment in the lab, you’re simply testing a hypothesis. Don’t take it personally, or get discouraged. If the results aren’t what you expected. It’s just data. So don’t get attached to a negative meaning when you’re interpreting what happened. Just use that information to get better the next time. And finally, and this is so important, I want you to have more fun, no matter what you’re doing. Lighten up, and don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is meant to be enjoyed. And that means being full of joy. Even when you face adversity. You have the inner strength to handle anything that life throws at you. So just go forward with confidence and do your best in the world.
David Ralph [47:56]
Ah, yeah, good stuff. Good stuff there. Meredith. What’s the number one One best way that our audience can connect with you.
Meredith Bell [48:03]
Well, as I said, I’m on LinkedIn a lot. So just look for me on LinkedIn, I’d be delighted to connect with folks there. And our website that you had referred to earlier is strong for performance, that strong fo our performance Comm. Right Stuff will have all the links on the show notes. Meredith, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots and please
David Ralph [48:26]
come back again, when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is the best way to build our futures. Meredith Bell, thank you so much.
Meredith Bell [48:37]
Thank you, David. It’s been a pleasure.
David Ralph [48:41]
Meredith bell. She’s a lady that you could see the passion. He loves what she’s doing. She loves connecting. She’s not trying to sell in a kind of icky way. by by by she’s just building relationships. She’s providing value, and she is supporting and that is how it It works people don’t like the pushy approach. And for all you pushy people out there that connect with me a lot, it’s not gonna work, it’s not gonna work. I don’t like it just seduce me, seduce me and rub oil into my body and you might get something. Anyway, until the next show. Thank you so much for listening to this one. And we will well that was Episode 701 I guess the next basis 702 c again, cheers by
Unknown Speaker [49:24]
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.